U. of Florida Trustees Approve Ben Sasse as School’s Next President

The University of Florida said Tuesday that its board of trustees had voted unanimously to select Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, as the university’s next president.

The decision was not a surprise.

Mr. Sasse was already expected to resign from the U.S. Senate by the end of the year after a presidential search committee at the university announced last month that he was the sole finalist for the post.

That announcement generated criticism from some students and faculty members who expressed concern about the selection process and the senator’s stance on L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

Mr. Sasse, 50, will become the 13th president of Florida’s flagship public university, pending ratification by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system and is scheduled to consider the matter on Nov. 10, the university said.

“I am grateful for the board of trustees’ unanimous vote and for their endorsement of our shared vision to make the University of Florida a world-changing institution and a pioneer in higher education,” Mr. Sasse said in a statement released by the university. “Education properly understood isn’t exclusively or even primarily about transmitting information. Education is about learning how to humbly and meaningfully engage with new ideas.”

Should Mr. Sasse leave the Senate, as expected, it would be the latest exit from Congress by a member of the dwindling band of Republicans who have publicly broken with former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Sasse voted with six other Republican senators to convict Mr. Trump on impeachment charges following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. He has also sharply criticized his own party for backing Mr. Trump. He was re-elected to his second term in 2020 and was not set to be on the ballot again until 2026.

Many other Republicans who have broken with Mr. Trump have announced their resignations or been defeated in party primaries in which they were targeted as disloyal.

Mr. Sasse’s departure is unlikely to tip the balance of power in Congress given Nebraska’s solidly Republican makeup. His seat would be filled through an appointment by Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, before a special election at a future date in which a Republican candidate would most likely be the heavy favorite.

The university noted that Mr. Sasse holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University and was previously president of Midland University in Nebraska and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.

“The board’s nomination reflects our confidence that Dr. Ben Sasse is the right leader to sustain U.F.’s momentum as one of the nation’s top five public universities,” Mori Hosseini, chair of the board of trustees, said in a statement.

The selection, however, has been met with pushback on campus. Last week, the faculty senate approved a no-confidence vote on the selection process, which the university said involved a review of more than 700 candidates within and outside of higher education, The Gainesville Sun reported.

“The process is the biggest problem here because we don’t know who those other candidates were,” Breann Garbas, a member of the faculty senate, told the newspaper last week. “We don’t know anything about them and we have no input in this and no say in it as a faculty as a whole.”

Students have also pointed to Mr. Sasse’s stance on L.G.B.T.Q. rights, including his criticism of the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Mr. Sasse issued a statement after the decision calling it “a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com